Buy the freshest prawns you can find. I like them on the large side as there is more bite in them. Leave shells on to keep in the juices but slit shells at the top so that you can devein prawns, if necessary, and also to allow the spices to penetrate. Leave whiskers flowing for they add to the final presentation.
Rub ground turmeric, salt and 1tbsp oil into prawns. Allow them to sit in the marinade for 30 minutes, covered, in the refrigerator.
Heat oil for frying in a wok. When smoking, add prawns, a few at a time, to allow them to sear and brown properly. (This step is important, as a wok that is not hot enough will cause the prawns to steam rather than fry.)
When golden, remove from wok. Serve immediately with wedges of lime on the side, if desired.
A member of the ginger family, the turmeric root is knobbly like ordinary ginger and it has an almost pungent, acrid taste that softens after cooking.
Recipe from Home Cooked: Modern Asian Recipes, By Sylvia Tan, Published by Marshall Cavendish International.